November 9, 2023

UM Hosting 51st Annual Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Education Conference

The University of Montevallo is hosting the 51st Annual Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Education Conference Nov. 9-10 at Embassy Suites in Hoover. This is the first time in 23 years that UM has hosted the conference.

From 1969 to 1971, social work faculty from the southern states have met four times a year as part of a faculty development project of the Southern Regional Education Board. When the project ended, faculty from Alabama and Mississippi schools decided to form a conference so they could further the bonds they had developed.

Dr. Jason Newell, professor of social work and director of UM’s Social Work Program, is serving as this year’s conference chair in addition to his regular duties as the conference treasurer.

“We are excited to host this event for social work educators, students and community partners,” Newell said. “As the host site, UM faculty and volunteer social work students will manage the conference speakers, provide a reception for conference guests and facilitate all of the conference activities.”

The objectives of this conference include:

  • Promoting transfer of information among schools providing social welfare education courses in the states of Alabama and Mississippi
  • Providing a forum for issues and problems of regional importance for the two states
  • Enabling individual schools and faculty members to be sensitive and responsive to the changing demands of social work education

The first three conferences were hosted by The University of Alabama. Starting in 1975, the conference was rotated among social work programs in the two states.

Representatives from all 27 CSWE-accredited social work programs in Alabama and Mississippi, as well as programs from surrounding states, participate in the annual conference. Many of these programs bring their students, who participate in programming and seek out employment and further educational opportunities.

The theme of this year’s conference is “The Roadmap to Professional Resilience: Preparing Our Students for Long-Term Success.” Keynote speakers are David L. Garlock, a successful returning citizen, reentry professional and criminal justice reform advocate, and Colonel (U.S. Army Retired) Jeffrey S. Yarvis, Ph.D., LCSW, BCD, ACSW, a high-reliability organization functional subject matter expert and executive leader coach to the Veterans Health Administration High Reliability Organization Support Team and Senior Professor of Practice at the Tulane University School of Social Work.